Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Issue of Revenge

     When it came right down to it, the practical thing to do was not so much about taking revenge upon Germans responsible for murdering and torturing Jews but caring for and organizing the survivors for resettlement to what was then Palestine. This was the primary task of what was left of the Jewish Fighting Organization in Warsaw at the end of the German occupation of Poland in 1945. Revenge was on the agenda but was not the main issue. For others, it was the most important thing.

Yitzhak Zuckerman

     "As for "Revenge", that subject kept me awake nights," stated Yitzhak Zuckerman in his memoir, A Surplus of Memory, "especially since, later, they came and asked me to lead "Revenge". But my notion of revenge wasn't theirs (some of the former Jewish partisans). I was "dying for revenge," but I was remote from their idea, which bordered on madness. Could you annihilate a German nation of sixty million? And if you did kill a thousand Germans, would that make you sleep better?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Resistance and Assassination

     One of the major forms of resistance in the Warsaw  ghetto was assassination. In late 1942 after the "Great Aktion" when most of the ghetto population was "resettled" to the Treblinka death camp and other  camps established by the German Nazis in German-occupied Poland, Jewish underground fighters began targeting Jewish collaborators. They began carrying out death sentences for those Jews who assisted the Nazis in the deception that resulted in fellow Jews going to their deaths. Those Jews went to the Umshlagplatz to board transport trains on the ruse that they were merely being resettled to work camps where life would be better for them.
     No longer could the Jewish Police or Judenrat members act with impunity after the first assassinations in late August, 1942, which sent a shock wave through ghetto and drilled home the message that collaboration that harmed Jews or undermined the Jewish underground would be severely dealt with.